News Briefs

April 15, 2024
Iran's Revolutionary Guard seized a Portuguese-flagged container ship, the MSC Aries, for allegedly violating maritime laws and not answering calls by Iranian authorities in the Strait of Hormuz. Iran's foreign ministry also released a statement emphasizing the vessel’s link to Israel. MSC, which operates the Aries, leases the vessel from Gortal Shipping, an affiliate of Zodiac Maritime.
-- Reuters
March 26, 2024
The United States sanctioned six entities, one individual, and two tankers for facilitating shipments and financial transactions for the IRGC Quds Force, the Houthis, and Hizballah. Sanctioned entities included Liberia-based Hassaleh International Company, which owns Panama-flagged DAWN II (IMO 9185530), India-based KNH Shipping Private Limited, also known as KNH Global Private Limited, and the Panama-flagged ABYSS (IMO 9157765), owned by Vietnam-based Quoc Viet Marine Transport JSC and operated by India-based Melody Shipmanagement Pvt Ltd. These entities worked with the network of Houthi financier Sa’id al-Jamal to ship Iranian commodities to China and obscure their activities with forged documents and ship brokering services.
-- U.S. Department of the Treasury
March 20, 2024
The United States sanctioned three networks based in Germany, Iran, Turkey, and Oman for procuring carbon fiber, epoxy resins, and other goods for Iran’s ballistic missile, nuclear, and defense programs. One such network was run by Maziar Karimi, who used the Germany-based Mazixon GmbH and Co KG, Oman-based Mazaya Alardh Aldhabia LLC (MAA), and Turkey-based Tit Uluslararasi Nakliyat Deri Tekstil Gida Sanayi Ve Ticaret Limited Sirketi to procure goods for Iran’s ballistic missile program. The United States also sanctioned Rostam Shahmari Ghojeh Biklo, Pishro Mobtaker Peyvand (PMP), and Mitra Inanlu for procuring materials for Iran’s nuclear program, including Kalaye Electric Company (KEC) and Iran Centrifuge Technology Company (TESA).
-- U.S. Department of the Treasury
March 17, 2024
Niger ended its counterterrorism alliance with the United States after U.S. officials expressed concerns that Niger was in secret talks to provide Iran with access to its uranium reserves. Niger and Iran reportedly signed a preliminary agreement, but the deal was not finalized as of February 2024. U.S. officials also raised concerns about the arrival of Russian military equipment and trainers to Niger. The country's ruling junta denied the allegations.
-- Wall Street Journal
March 6, 2024
Houthi rebels in Yemen fired an anti-ship ballistic missile that struck the True Confidence merchant vessel as it was transiting the Red Sea. The attack killed three crew members, injured four others, and caused significant damage to the ship, forcing the crew to abandon it. Several days earlier, a cargo ship named Rubymar sank after being struck by Houthi missiles in February. A Houthi spokesman said the group's attacks would not stop until Israel ends its operation against Hamas in Gaza.
-- Al Jazeera
March 3, 2024
According to a senior Sudanese intelligence official, Iran has supplied explosive drones to the Sudanese military and sought to acquire a permanent naval base on Sudan’s Red Sea coast in exchange for a helicopter-carrying warship. Iran reportedly intended to station warships at the base and to use it for intelligence collection, including monitoring maritime traffic to and from the Suez Canal and Israel. Sudan declined the proposal.
-- Wall Street Journal
February 29, 2024
Russia launched an Iranian remote sensing satellite into orbit from the Vostochny Cosmodrome using a Soyuz rocket. The satellite, named Pars-1, weighed about 134 kilograms, was equipped with three cameras, and was traveling in a sun-synchronous orbit to survey Iran's topography, according to Iranian state media.
-- Reuters
February 26, 2024
According to a quarterly report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran reduced its stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent purity by 6.8 kilograms since late October 2023 by diluting some of the material with uranium enriched to 2 percent. Iran still has 121.5 kilograms of 60 percent enriched uranium in its stockpile, and it increased its stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 percent purity.
-- Wall Street Journal
February 21, 2024
Iran has reportedly provided Russia with around 400 surface-to-surface ballistic missiles and plans to provide more, according to six anonymous sources. The shipments began in early January and have included the Zolfaghar missile, which can reach a distance of 700 kilometers.
-- Reuters
February 14, 2024
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force conducted a military drill in which it fired Ghadr and Emad ballistic missiles at a mock target resembling Israel's Palmachim Airbase.
-- Tasnim News Agency